What Rules Govern The Relocation Of A Parent With A Child?
Relocation is when a parent moves 50 or more miles away for more than 60 days. Florida has a relocation statute that sets forth the procedure to be followed when a parent feels they need to permanently relocate. If you intend to relocate, then you must first go back to court. You are obligated to have the court approve the relocation in advance before doing so. You must also provide the other parent with notice of your intent to relocate. The parent who gets the notice has to respond within a certain amount of time.
If the parent does not respond in a timely manner, it is going to be presumed there is no objection to relocation. If the other parent does object, which is often the case, there has to be a trial or a hearing and the judge will decide whether or not it is in the child’s best interest for the relocation to take place. No one can stop the parent from the move, but they cannot take the child with them. It requires the court approval and it requires strictly adhering to the relocation statute.
Is There An Age Where A Child Can Decide Which Parent They Want To Live With?
Florida courts generally feel it is detrimental to have a child testify against either parent. However, there are procedures for when it is allowed, but you have to first get the permission from the judge before a child will be permitted to do so. Even with permission, the child’s wishes are only a single factor of what is best for the child.
There is no law in Florida where a child can testify once he reaches a certain age. Generally speaking, the child’s wishes are relevant and the older the child gets the more relevance his wishes become. For example, if a 4-year old child says, “I want to live with mommy”, then the judge is going to say, “That is nice but the child needs to see both parents”. However, if it is a 17-year old daughter saying, “I want to live with my mom”, the judge is going to give the 17-year old who can demonstrate sufficient maturity and understanding of the implications of their statement, a lot more weight.
Again, there is no clear cut-off line; there is no age rule. The main factor is whether the child has the maturity to understand what it is that they are testifying about and the ability to tell the truth.
How Long Do Parenting Time Agreements Generally Take To Be Agreed Upon Or Settled?
Battles over timesharing with the children can be some of the ugliest fights that I am involved in as a divorce litigator. Some parents insist on exactly fifty-fifty everything. Anything less, no matter how slight, is a deal breaker and it is over. They will fight till the last penny. They will fight with their last ounce of energy and their last breath to get fifty-fifty. Under those circumstances, it is going to be a battle till the end that may take more than a year (or years) to conclude. There is not supposed to be a presumption in favor of moms or dads in Florida when it comes to custody. Statutorily it is supposed to be exactly equal. However, courts do like maintaining the status quo, meaning they like continuing what has been working for a family. For example, say mom is taking care of most of the responsibilities regarding children and the parents are fine with keeping that arrangement. These parents are in agreement to an unequal timesharing arrangement or they are happy with what is called the Palm Beach model schedule of time-sharing, which is not equal.
If people can come to an agreement or an understanding, a resolution of the time sharing, the cases can settle rather quickly. Once the time-sharing schedule is put in place, we can then calculate the amount of child support. As far as time sharing, any case can be done on an uncontested basis through very quick settlement when the people are communicating well and acting mature. However, you are fighting over children and many people will fight until they can’t fight any longer. It is maybe not the wisest decision, but it is the decision many spouses make. You might not even be the one making that decision. You might be on the opposite end and if so, you have to defend.
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